Titus Olowokere, president of the US-Africa Trade Council, has advised Nigerians looking for investment opportunities in the United States of America to invest in either the real estate business or the hospitality business.
Olowokere, who also doubles as the CEO of the US-Nigeria Trade Council, an organisation devoted to improving trade relations between Nigeria and the US, gave this advice during an interview with BusinessDay on Wednesday.
An expert on international trade advocacy between the US and Africa who has spent more than 25 years in the world’s number one economic powerhouse said that based on his experience, any Nigerian willing to invest in America won’t go wrong if they invest in either the real estate sector or the hospitality sector.
“For any Nigerian looking to invest in the US market, there are about three sectors I will personally recommend based on what I have seen and my experience.
“One, you can’t go wrong in the real estate market. The real estate market is growing in the US.”
He explained that just like it is in any cosmopolitan place in the world, the real estate market has been experiencing exponential growth.
He said, “The homes in many US cities appreciate constantly; in some areas, they appreciate in two-digit growth patterns. You could buy a house now, and in five years’ time, you could realise about 20 percent on your investment.”
For the hospitality business, Olowokere cited very important persuading reasons why investing in this sector is a sure bet for any serious Nigerian looking to earn money from the US.
He said that over 90 percent of Americans, because of their busy schedules, eat outside a lot. As a result, having a restaurant in busy or not-so-busy places would still ensure a good return on investment.
He explained, “Another sector to invest in the US is the hospitality industry. Americans eat out a lot. They eat out, probably 90 percent of the time; they don’t cook. So, for those who want to invest in the food and beverage sector, in restaurants, with the right location, they can’t go wrong because Americans would eat lunch outside; they would buy lunch on their way and eat dinner at home.
“Most of the cooking they do is just to warm up the frozen or canned foods. So, you can’t go wrong with the food market.”
Outside the food business, the US-Nigeria Trade Council boss advises those with the financial strength to consider investing in the hotel chain business. His reasons were that Americans travel a lot, especially within the country, and, as a result, will need places to lodge when they do.
He said, “Another area that you can’t go wrong in is the hospitality industry, specifically hotel chains. Americans travel a lot; within the US, they travel a lot, and most hotels are filled up.
“They have a lot of events regularly; hotels and event centres are always sold out. We plan to have an event, for instance, in June, but we couldn’t get a location in Atlanta because most of them have been booked out several months in advance. So that is the potential of the market.”
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He presented a convincing argument for why Nigerians with financial muscle should invest in the US. According to him, investing in the states, especially if you do that with a million dollars, could qualify you to apply for a green card.
He explained, “Another benefit of investing in the US is that if you invest in the US market up to a million dollars, you qualify to apply for a green card. It is almost automatic. There are some requirements that must be met: if you spend up to US$1 million in investment, you provide jobs for at least 20 Americans, and if you live in an area with slower growth development, you have higher potential to be approved for your visa. It is almost automatic to get a green card, not just for yourself but for your entire family.
“Finally, the dollar is still a strong currency; you can get it wrong by investing in dollars. So, it is actually a better deal to invest in the US market than to keep asking foreigners to invest in our country.”